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John O'Leary - harmonica/vocals

John O'Leary is one of the early exponents of the blues harmonica in the UK. Originally from Ireland, John's family was part of the mass migration to England in the aftermath of World  War 2. In London's thriving jazz clubs of the 1960's, he first heard blues harp legend Cyril Davies with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. John bought his first harp in 1962 and initially learned by watching Davies. Inevitably, he discovered the great masters of the instrument Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Noah Lewis, Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Sonny Terry and Junior Wells . Although their influences are still readily discernible in his playing, he has developed an unique and instantly identifiable sound and style of his own.

John's career has seen his involvement with numerous bands and musicians over five decades. Beginning in 1965 as a founder member of Savoy Brown's Blues Band through to the present day John O'Leary & Sugarkane, he has continued to maintain a prominent position on the European blues scene.

Over the years John has performed with noted musicians and bands Donovan, Noel Redding, Eric Bell, Kim Simmonds, Champion Jack Dupree, Roger Chapman, Tony McPhee, Dave & Jo-Ann Kelly, Alexis Korner, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Aynsley Dunbar, Victor Brox, Keef "Halfbreed" Hartley and bands, Savoy Brown,  John Dummer Blues Band & Mainsqueezet. 

Today, as well as Sugarkane, he is concurrently a member of the legendary Downliners Sect  and The John O'Leary-Alan Glen Blues Review; which for the past 10 years has hosted annual tributes to Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Cyril Davies.. 

 In 2011 and 2013 John was voted No 2 in the harmonica category by BLUES MATTERS magazine's  writers and contributors.






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